Biden administration needs to reintroduce the asylum coverage of the Trump period “Stay-in-Mexico” as a way to adjust to the court docket order
The Biden administration will reintroduce a Trump-era border policy in November that will force asylum seekers to stay in Mexico until their U.S. immigration court date.
The decision comes after the Supreme Court denied the government’s motion to block a federal judge’s order to reinstate the policy and gave the administration a Thursday deadline to comply.
The policy known as “Stay in Mexico” was first implemented by former President Donald Trump in 2019 when more Central American families crossed the southwestern border.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden finalized what is known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP. He called it inhuman because of the violence migrants faced while they waited in Mexico, often in dangerous cities with few resources.
The Republican-led states of Texas and Missouri sued the Biden administration in April for suspending policies. In August, a federal judge from the Northern District of Texas sided with the states and ordered the government to reintroduce the policy pending litigation.
“DHS is taking the necessary steps to comply with the court order that requires us to reintroduce MPP in good faith,” a Homeland Security spokesman said Friday.
“We’re working on it, despite our appeal against the court’s order,” the spokesman said, noting that the ministry is drafting contracts to rebuild temporary immigration hearing facilities near the US-Mexico border.
Senior administration officials also told reporters Thursday night that only those not expelled under Title 42, a Trump-era health bill that Biden retained would be subject to the MPP, according to NBC News.
Title 42, which was first introduced in March 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, denies certain migrants the opportunity to apply for asylum.
The revival of the MPP policy still depends on the approval of the Mexican government. Talks with the Mexican government about when and how the directive will be implemented again are ongoing, the ministry spokesman noted.
“Mexico is a sovereign nation that must make an independent decision to accept the return of individuals,” they said.
The spokesman added that the Biden government will continue to issue a memo terminating the policy, which will only go into effect if the government rejects the Texas and Missouri lawsuit.
According to the American Immigration Council, an estimated 70,000 migrants have been repatriated to Mexico as part of Trump-era policies since 2019.
For migrants subject to the directive, it meant waiting months, if not years, to see an immigration judge. It also meant threats of blackmail, sexual assault, and kidnapping, according to the American Immigration Council.
According to Human Rights First, as of February 2021, there had been at least 1,544 publicly documented cases of rape, kidnapping, assault and other crimes against people sent back under the MPP. Several people, including at least one child, died after being sent back to Mexico under the directive and attempting to cross the southwest border again.
Plans to revive the MPP come as Biden’s approval ratings have dropped, in part due to the way his government has handled migration and the border.
The president in particular has faced a backlash over the use of Title 42 as the highest number of migrants attempted to illegally cross the US-Mexico border in two decades.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in August that Title 42 would remain in effect until there was no risk of people who are not US citizens bringing Covid-19 into the country when crossing the border. Unaccompanied children are exempt from the Health Act.
The Biden government on Wednesday defended its use of Title 42 despite lifting restrictions on fully vaccinated foreigners with visas crossing the border from Canada or Mexico to the US
Undocumented migrants who cross the border and are fully vaccinated can be expelled under Title 42.